Monday, February 8, 2016

February Newsletter

February 6, 2016 -- Pedersen Family Newsletter

Our recent loss …

A week after we wrote our December newsletter, my 87-year-old father died unexpectedly.  It was a great sorrow to our family.  I am grateful to the Lord for his hand in my life through my father.  Dad and I loved each other dearly through all the ups and downs and he readily gave his love to Gerald and our children.  We will miss him, but we have many good memories.  (by Judith)

From Laura, 17 … I had a birthday recently!  I was so glad to be able to celebrate with my whole family.  It’s such a blessing to have so big a family to love me.  The little ones are sweet in a special way.  This year we were able to enjoy a time of playing our bluegrass instruments together (“jamming” as we call it).  It’s something fun that involves all of us and, especially when I was younger, made me feel more like we were equals.  Playing music together kind of unites us through the wide age gap from myself to Katie.

From Becca, 19 … I have been thinking about the shortness of life and the longness of eternity.  From where I stand, life seems to be mostly ahead and it looks big and unknown (and fun).  I have to remind myself of the saying “Only one life, twill soon be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.”  Regardless of what the culture says, I am not here on earth to enjoy myself.  I am a soldier in a great battle.  This life is the only opportunity I’ll get to help further God’s kingdom.  “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.” (2 Tim. 2:4) The “civilian pursuits” are just so enticing though!  It’s hard to have the discipline to refuse them and turn to the more fruitful use of time.

From Seth, 22 … I started back up with school last month at a university near downtown Houston. Since it's local, I can still live at home, taking the bus and train into town each day. I'm working on a graduate degree in water treatment engineering, with the goal of either being a professor one day or doing research and development. Right now, I'm trying to keep caught up with my classes, and in a couple weeks I'll likely start doing laboratory research.

From Anna, 25 … I recently started a year-long theology class through our church.  I’m enjoying the opportunity to delve more deeply into some of what I believe.  I’ve particularly been noticing the vital importance of maintaining the authority of Scripture in all areas of our belief and practice.  All people have some kind of authority in their lives that determines what they believe and how they live; if it is not the Bible, it will be reason, science, feelings, or some other manmade standard.  The question of which authority we follow will have implications for every part of our lives.

From John, Megan, James (3), Ezra (2), and Joy (6 months) … Our biggest news is that the old pantry is down, the new is in use, and the new support beam spanning the living room and kitchen was put in last week!  We are making steady progress with John working every Saturday.  The boys love to "help" John in any way they can.  Ezra likes to use his toy tools to saw and drill like John.  Usually we head out to the library, or to someone's house to play, or to run errands during those mornings to keep the kids from being underfoot.

Joy is cutting her second tooth and can rotate around to chase after toys.  She is on the heels of being six months old.  Time has flown!

James is starting to learn his letter sounds and is excited when he sees the sounds he knows in books.  It's hard to believe he'll be four next month!

From Ray, Katie, Peter (6), Samuel (4), Andrew (3), Grace (1), and baby (due April) … Ray took a trip to New York City at the end of January.  He went for a real estate agent conference, but it was his first time to New York, so he did some sightseeing also.  He took a harbor cruise that went past the Statue of Liberty, visited the World Trade Center memorial, and went to the top of the new One World Trade Center tower, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere.  He also got some good ideas and inspiration at the conference, and he didn’t freeze to death, so it was a good trip.  While he was away, the rest of us kept busy with things like seeing a monster truck at Chick-fil-A, and making Mickey Mouse pancakes for supper.

The boys got a bunk bed for their room, which they’ve been quite excited about. It has a double bed at the bottom, a twin on top, and a little staircase on the side.  Bringing it home and putting it together made for quite a Saturday, but with the great help of some friends and family, we got it done.

From Judith … With my father’s advanced years and declining physical condition, I knew I wouldn’t have very many more years with him.  Nevertheless, I’ve realized the path of grieving isn’t necessarily shortened or made less hilly by mental preparedness.  You can’t fully prepare for the person to be gone until he or she is really gone.  At death the ebb and flow of the relationship completely stops.  A sharp shift occurs as life now goes on without the loved one.  Those closest feel this most acutely.  In order to somewhat “extend the time” with the loved one, one may, as I have done, muse over old letters, photos, and memorabilia.  It has helped to soften the harsh finality of my dad’s death.

From Gerald … A friend of ours is a machinist and programmer for a local machine shop.  He set up a tour for folks who wanted to see the shop.  Becca and I went; I really enjoyed it and I think Becca did too.  We got to see the machines and learn about what they do.  They even had one running a program to make an aluminum keepsake souvenir for each of us.  It was really fun for me because it took me back to my high school and college days when I worked in a machine shop in the summers and part-time during the school year.  Much has changed since then, but much is also the same.

On the day after Christmas, a Saturday, we had an open house for our neighbors.  In the seven years we have lived in this house, we have been able to meet a handful of our neighbors, but there were many we did not know.  So we printed invitations for each house on our street and for a few others on nearby streets whom we had already met.   We went up and down our street knocking on doors and inviting folks to come.  At the end of a week, we mailed the rest of the invitations to those we had not caught at home.  We had a good turnout and it seemed like everyone had a good time.  It was really nice to get to know folks a bit better and to meet others for the first time.  We hope to make it an annual event.

With love from the Pedersen clan